Construction Cranes Topple over Buildings in Netherlands, 20 Injured

Construction Cranes Topple over Buildings in Netherlands, 20 Injured

This is the terrifying moment a row of homes and shops were reduced to rubble after two cranes hoisting a large section of bridge collapsed under the weight and toppled over.

One man was reportedly pulled out alive from the debris after the large cranes collapsed onto apartments and shops overlooking a canal in Alphen aan den Rijn, South Holland, this afternoon.

Emergency services initially believed around 20 others were injured in the dramatic incident, but later confirmed no other people were hurt. A dog was, however, found dead at the scene.

Dramatic footage of the incident showed the two towering cranes carrying a piece of tarmac before it started to swing out of control.

The cranes then appeared to buckle under the weight of the bridge segment and toppled over onto a nearby row of buildings, slamming through them and sending a cloud of dust into the air.

The section of bridge they had been carrying also landed on the buildings, which were practically flattened by the incident.

Rescue workers with sniffer dogs stayed at the site searching for people trapped underneath the rubble until 11pm, before calling off the search.

Initially, firefighters had said that about 20 people had been wounded, a figure they later retracted.

Local authorities later said there were no victims in the incident, but local media reported that one man had been plucked from the rubble complaining of hip pain.

‘While we did not dare hope it when we saw the footage, at this point it seems there are no casualties,’ Mayor Liesbeth Spies said in a statement.

Ton Koot – a spokesman for the central Holland fire service – said he believed a man had been pulled from the wreckage and had been taken to hospital with hip injuries.

He added: ‘Two cranes and the stretch of roadway they were carrying fell on five houses in all.’

The cranes, working from barges, were renovating the Queen Juliana Bridge – a canal bridge dating from the 1950s – when the first crane toppled over.

Unbalanced by the extra load, the second crane then fell.

Dutch TV channel NOS said the cranes fell on a second-hand clothing store and another shop selling art and drawing supplies, but it remains unclear how many houses they also hit.

Witness Dick van Smirren, who filmed the incident, said he saw the moment the bridge deck – being carried by the cranes – began to move, before swinging and pulling the cranes onto the houses.

He said: ‘You see the cloud of dust rise – that is a terrible image and you think, ‘Who is under there?’ You can’t believe what you see.’

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